Yesterday I began to tell the story of a frustrated couple from our Family Education Program who believed that they were not getting the information they needed in order to inspire their loved one to take treatment seriously.
I heard in their voices frustration, disappointment, fear, anxiety, and, perhaps, isolation (they did not believe other people had the same difficulty they did). All of these feelings and experiences are real and burdensome. I feel for them.
Mom and I meet with families every week to discuss how to be helpful to loved ones needing recovery. We always pass on a few key things we’ve learned. These keys look something like this: You can’t necessarily make someone enter treatment, but there are some skills you can learn and practice that assist a person in discovering that treatment and recovery are good ideas worth pursuing. The portion of the family that knows that recovery is necessary needs to pursue their own recovery because everyone involved needs healing, support, encouragement, and education and these factors combined create an environment where recovery is more possible than it might otherwise be.
The frustrated family’s problem, I think, is the belief that there is a hidden key somewhere that will unlock a door that provides a solution. They believe that there is some trick no one is telling them that will give them their desired goal, their desired end. They are solutions-focused and not yet process-oriented.
I say this not to judge them. I do not believe it is their fault and I believe it is totally understandable. I believe everyone who has this sort of problem begins roughly in this place. But it has got me thinking about the difference between being solutions-oriented people verses process-oriented people (of course, we can probably mix both, it doesn’t have to be a choice).
And so, I want to spend a few days writing about the nature of process.